JA Volunteer Q&A: Sarah Walsh, Sanofi

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Tell us a little about yourself? What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’ and how did you take the pathway that lead you to your current career?

My name is Sarah Walsh. I graduated from WIT with a applied chemistry degree in 2018 and have worked at Sanofi in Waterford for 3 years. I am currently a Quality Assurance specialist.

I love sport such as GAA and soccer, I used to play sport but gave up in college to focus on studies. I enjoy exercise so I do try get out in the open fresh air every day to keep my mind active in these mad times!!

When I was younger I wanted to be a scientist as I always had a love for science. I am happy that I have grown up to me exactly what I want to be!

Tell us about your experiences to date with JA and what your motivations were for getting involved? 

When I was in primary School I had a JA volunteer in my class, I honestly thought it was brilliant. I remember having a big map and the volunteer talking us through what to do.

I received JA programmes twice when I was a student in the Ursuline Primary School.

That is why I want to get involved as all those years later I still remember doing JA and that I really enjoyed it. I think it’s a brilliant organisation and I honestly do think kids love it – I am proud to be associated with an amazing organisation like JA.

What are you most proud of having achieved while working with JA?

I will be so proud to have kids remember receiving the programme just like I did.

As you know, research findings indicate that young people who can identify a positive role model in their lives have higher grades and self-esteem than those who can’t. When you were growing up, who made a positive impact on your life, and what qualities did they embody that you admired? 

I have the most amazing mother. My mother is my best friend and she is the strongest person I have ever met. When college got tough my mother used to sit me down and tell me if I want to leave college I can but if I stay, I will have a great future with loads of options, she was right!  

I am also very lucky to have 5 siblings (2 sisters and 3 brothers) and I am the youngest! Education was always very important to my mother – that each of us received a good education to do what we want and what we love in life. There is 6 years between myself and my sister and she is the closest in age to me. When she was going through college she lived away and I always remember her coming home the weekend and studying hard in her room for exams. She always inspired me as she is very hard working.

She is a manager in a nursing home now and during the pandemic she worked mad hours and didn’t see her family as she had to stay in the nursing home. She was so strong.

I am honestly blessed to have such amazing role models in my life to guide me on the right path and keep me grounded and support any decision I decide to make.

Is there any advice that you have been given over the years from a mentor or individual that you respect and admire – that you would like to offer to our readers?

That never let anyone tell you can’t do something. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything you want. As you go through life you learn what you are good at but only you can know that and not anyone else.